THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom blog

News about yesterday's news, and where news may be going

Introduction

Whether you are studying history, politics, society, international relations, economics, media history, sports history or family history, our collections will have something for you Read more

16 August 2016

Olympic news

There's nothing quite like a worldwide story such as the Olympic Games for showing how all news is relative. There is no absolute concept of what is news: it is always determined by the particular audience of which we are a part. The news tells us where we are, and who we are. Here are newspaper front pages from around the world for today, Tuesday 16 August 2016, each reporting on the Games from their particular perspective, just to prove the point:

Olympics1

Olympics2

Olympics3

Olympics4

 

Olympics5

Olympics8

 All images taken from I Wanted To See all of the News Today, an online art installation by Martin John Callanan which brings together fresh newspaper front pages from around the world each day. The section includes newspapers from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Fiji, Germany, Greece, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea,  UK, USA and Venezuela.

 

01 August 2016

New nationals

Newspapers may be in decline, but that isn't stopping publishers coming up with fresh ways in which to produce the news in print.Over the past two years we have seen four new 'national' newspapers appear in the UK: The National, The New Day, 24 - The North's National and The New European. Each presents a different twist on the idea of what a UK national newspaper means, targeting a different sector of the nation in ways that bring national divisions into sharp relief. Not all have managed to survive.

Newnationals

The National is a Scottish daily, produced by Newsquest as 32-page tabloid and sister paper to The Herald broadsheet. It was launched on 24 November 2014 in the wake of the Scottish referendum, with a strong pro-independence line. It was initially produced an a five-day trial basis, an experiment that was extended after strong sales in the first week. The original print run was 60,000 copies, but although the number has fallen to below 20,000 copies (plus around 2,500 digital subscribers), the newspaper has survived, moving from five to six issues a week in January 2015.

The New Day was launched by Trinity Mirror on 29 February 2016, as a daily title in a 40-page tabloid format. It was heralded as the first new British national daily newspaper since i in 2010 - depending on how you identify a 'national' title. It boldly chose to have no digital manifestation, its website being a mere holding page. Initially priced at 25p, this rose to 40p and then 50p. It was aimed at an audience that had given up on newspapers, which was always going to be a challenge. Fatefully the newspaper was given the slogan "Life is short, let’s live it well", because its life turned out to be short. A hoped-for circulation of 200,000 copies was never achieved, and after two months and sales having dropped to 30,000 copies the title closed on 6 May.

24 - the North's National was launched by the CN Group as a 40-page tabloid on 20 June 2016, priced at 40p. It billed itself as being a national newspaper with a "distinctly Northern perspective". Distributed across north west England and southern Scotland, targeting an area not reached by the free Metro newspaper, it aimed to rethink where the centre of national news should be. Much of its copy came from the Press Association. It turned out to have a shorter life than even The New Day, closing after just a month on 29 July 2016, having found sales to be disappointing and the challenge of "squeez[ing] into beside the big beasts of the daily market" too great.

The New European was launched on 8 July 2016 in the aftermath of the EU referendum result, published by the regional newspaper group Archant in an eye-catching Berliner format, a weekly title priced at £2. Remarkably, the newspaper was produced just nine days after the idea was first proposed. Aimed at "the 48%" who voted Remain, and distributed in those areas of the UK where the majority voted that way, the paper was announced as being a 'pop-up' title, to have just four editions initially, before the publishers would review the situation.  The title turned out to be a success, indeed profitable, with further editions now promised "on a rolling basis".

All four titles have been aimed at different sectors of the nation, with different ideas of what 'nation' actually means. They represent as much uncertainty over identity as they do uncertainty over newspaper publishing business models. Of course, few national titles have ever reached the entirety of the UK, strongly delineated as it is by region, nation and class, but these new titles suggest that the struggle for print newspapers today is as much about defining an audience as finding it. 

The two that have succeeded (so far)  have done so through strategies that limited risk by starting off with test publications. Each has been aimed at audiences impassioned by referendum results that did not go their way, and sustained by a belief that change may still yet happen. Ultimately though, The National and The New European have succeeded through having strong content. It is not enough simply to identify a supposedly neglected community - you need to give them something to read.

All four titles have been archived by the British Library - The New Day and 24 - The North's National in their entirety.

 

05 July 2016

Brexit - the broadcast archive

The most tumultuous British news story since the British Library began recording television and radio news programmes in 2010 has undoubtedly been the EU referendum. The result of the vote made on 23 June 2016 is still causing shockwaves, and has generated a compelling archive. It is hard to calculate just how many hours of broadcasting we have archived since the date of the referendum was announced on 20 February 2016 that relate to the subject, but it will be somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 hours of TV and radio. On June 24 alone, the day the result was announced, we recorded 135 hours. 

EUTV

The archive  comprises regular and specialist news and current affairs programmes broadcast over February-June 2016, plus comedy programmes, broadcasts by the Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe campaigns, interviews, live speeches, parliamentary debates, public debates and through-the-night coverage of the result of the vote. There are programmes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News, but also CNN, Al Jazeera English, RT (Russia Today), France 24, NHK World (Japan), CCTV (China), BBC national radio channels, LBC and more. In general the referendum saw the traditional news media providing the chief platform for the national discussion. There was considerable activity on the web and via social media, but print (often thought to be waning in influence at general elections) and particularly television were where the mass audience came for its information, and to see the arguments played out. 

Brexit

Programmes on Broadcast News

The archive is available already at the British Library, and continues to be added to each day. Every programme recorded up to the end of June can be found via Explore, or on our Sound and Moving Image catalogue (SAMI), though the programmes themselves can only be played onsite, at either our St Pancras or Boston Spa locations. Researchers onsite may find it easier to explore the archive via the Broadcast News service, which offers word-searching for subtitled programmes and filtering by date, date range, channel or medium (TV and radio). If you are using Explore, you should search by a programme title or terms such as 'referendum', 'Brexit', 'EU' etc, and filter the results by Moving Image or Audio. Clicking on the Details tab of any record will give you the description plus the link to the playable programme (which will only play onsite).

Below is a list of some of the key special programmes broadcast (the list mostly does not include programmes such as Newsnight, Question Time, Peston on Sunday, The Andrew Marr Show, Murnaghan, Pienaar's Politics, Today and Daily Politics, which we record on a regular basis in any case). The descriptions mostly come from EPG (Electronic Programme Guide).

2016 EU Referendum - selected special programmes, February-June 2016

Channel Title Date Description
BBC News BBC News 20/02/2016 Prime minister announces date of referendum
BBC 1 BBC News at Ten  20/02/2016 Includes news that EU agreement has been made, triggering UK referendum
BBC Parliament Live EU referendum statement 22/02/2016 Live coverage of the statement in the House of Commons by prime minister David Cameron on the deal reached with EU leaders on reforms to the terms of the UK's membership
BBC1 Panorama Special: In or Out - The EU Referendum 22/02/2016 How much do you know about the EU? Nick Robinson debates immigration, jobs and sovereignty.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - George Osborne 23/03/2016 The speech by George Osborne in Bristol on the importance of staying in the EU alongside fellow cabinet ministers Liz Truss, Amber Rudd and Stephen Crabb, from Monday 18 April.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Gordon Brown 23/03/2016 The speech on the reasons for Britain to remain in the EU made by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown at a conference on the economic consequences of "Brexit", from 21 April.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Michael Gove 23/03/2016 Recorded coverage of the speech by justice secretary Michael Gove on the case for leaving the European Union, from Tuesday 19 April.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Nigel Farage 23/03/2016 The GO movement rally in favour of leaving the EU with speeches from UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative cabinet minister Chris Grayling, from Monday 18 April.
ITV Tonight: is Britain Really full? 31/03/2016 Ranvir Singh travels to London, Lincolnshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester to find out whether public perception of immigration is borne out by the facts.
BBC Parliament Live House of Commons coverage 11/04/2016 Government statement on EU referendum leaflet
BBC2 Europe: Them or Us - part 1 12/04/2016 1/2. An Island Apart: Nick Robinson explores the troubled history of the UK's relationship with Europe.
BBC News Victoria Derbyshire 14/04/2016 Includes Jeremy Corbyn speech on EU referendum
BBC Parliament Alastair Darling EU Speech 18/04/2016 Recorded coverage of former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling making a speech setting out the economic argument for the UK to remain in the European Union, from Friday 15 April.
BBC Parliament Boris Johnson EU Speech 18/04/2016 Recorded coverage of London mayor Boris Johnson making a speech at a Vote Leave event in Manchester calling on the UK to leave the European Union, from Friday 15 April.
BBC2 Newsnight 18/04/2016 Referendum special on the economy
BBC Parliament Vote Leave Event 18/04/2016 Recorded coverage of Labour MP and Vote Leave Chair, Gisela Stuart, making a speech entitled The Risks of Staying in the European Union, from Wednesday 13 April.
BBC2 Europe: Them or Us - part 2 19/04/2016 2/2. Voice of the People: The troubled history of the UK's relationship with Europe. Episode two goes behind the closed doors of Whitehall and Brussels.
BBC News HARDtalk  19/04/2016 The battle for Britain's future, in or out of the EU, will be settled in June. Stephen Sackur's guest is Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon. Could Brexit make economic sense?
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Boris Johnson 10/05/2016 Recorded coverage of the speech by Conservative MP and leave campaigner Boris Johnson on the 'liberal cosmopolitan' case for Britain leaving the European Union, from Monday 9 May
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - David Cameron 10/05/2016 Recorded coverage of David Cameron's speech on the forthcoming EU referendum, warning that peace in Europe could be at risk if Britain votes to leave the EU. From Monday 9 May
BBC2 Newsnight 16/05/2016 An EU referendum special with Evan Davis
Channel 4 Channel 4 News 17/05/2016 Includes EU referendum debate with members of UK minority communities
BBC1 Paxman in Brussels: Who Really Rules Us? 19/05/2016 As the EU referendum debate approaches its climax, Jeremy Paxman takes viewers on a journey to the heart of Europe, meeting the movers, shakers and anonymous faces who run the EU.
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 23/05/2016 A referendum campaign broadcast by the Vote Leave campaign
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 24/05/2016 A referendum campaign broadcast by the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign
Channel 4 Boris v Dave: The Battle for Europe 25/05/2016 Michael Crick examines how the EU referendum campaign has become a personal battle between David Cameron and Boris Johnson; a battle that will define the future of the country
BBC1 How Should I Vote? The EU Debate 26/05/2016 Live from Glasgow, Victoria Derbyshire hosts a debate on the issues that matter to younger voters ahead of the June referendum on whether or not Britain should remain in the EU.
BBC Parliament Business Views on EU Referendum Committee 27/05/2016 Recorded coverage of the Business, Innovation and Skills committee on the views of businesses on the EU referendum, from Tuesday 24 May.
BBC Parliament EU Polls Debate 28/05/2016 Recorded coverage of an event with pollsters and commentators asking whether the EU referendum polls can be relied on. From Wednesday 25 May.
BBC Parliament Scotland and the EU Referendum Committee 28/05/2016 The Scottish Affairs Committee's session on the impact of the EU referendum on Scotland, from Wednesday 25 May.
BBC Parliament Speaker's EU Debate 28/05/2016 Recorded coverage of the House of Commons speaker hosting a debate on the UK's membership of the European Union. From Monday 23 May.
BBC1 Countryfile 29/05/2016 Snowdonia: John Craven races a hill runner to the summit of Snowdon and meets the volunteers protecting the area's ospreys. Includes David Cameron and Boris Johnson speaking on EU referendum and the countryside.
Channel 4 An Immigrant's Guide to Britain 30/05/2016 Comedian Henning Wehn and his gang of first-generation immigrants provide an irreverent guide to life in Britain. This episode explores caravans, rugby, the weather and more. (Ep1/3)
BBC 2 Britain & Europe: For Richer or Poorer? 31/05/2016 Laura Kuenssberg examines the economic costs and benefits of EU membership.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Chris Grayling 31/05/2016 Recorded coverage of Vote Leave campaigner Chris Grayling MP making a speech in London, from Tuesday 31 May.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum - Sajid Javid 31/05/2016 Recorded coverage of business secretary Sajid Javid taking part in a panel discussion for the Britain Stronger IN Europe campaign group, from Tuesday 31 May.
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 31/05/2016 A referendum campaign broadcast by the Vote Leave campaign.
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 01/06/2016 A referendum campaign broadcast by the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign.
Sky News EU: In or Out? 02/06/2016 Adam Boulton presents build-up to the first big TV event of the EU referendum in which David Cameron will answer questions from Sky News's political editor and a live audience
Sky News EU: In or Out? 03/06/2016 Adam Boulton presents build-up to the second big TV event of the EU Referendum in which 'Leave' campaigner Michael Gove will answer questions from Faisal Islam and a live studio audience.
BBC1 Countryfile 05/06/2016 Montrose: Matt Baker and Anita Rani are at the Montrose Basin in Scotland, while Tom Heap looks at the EU referendum and Britain's fisheries.
BBC Radio 5 Live Pienaar's Politics 05/06/2016 John Pienaar is joined by the former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and energy minister Andrea Leadsom. He also speaks to a panel of young voters about the EU referendum.
Channel 4 An Immigrant's Guide to Britain 06/06/2016 Comedian Henning Wehn leads the irreverent guide to life in Britain. This episode explores work, dating, the British sense of humour, and breakfast in a can. (Ep2/3)
Channel 4 Channel 4 News 06/06/2016 Includes live youth debate on EU Referendum
BBC Parliament EU Referendum Campaign: Jeremy Corbyn 06/06/2016 Recorded coverage of a referendum campaign event with Jeremy Corbyn MP in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union, from Thursday 2 June.
BBC1 The Andrew Neil Interviews: Leave or Remain? 06/06/2016 In this first programme Andrew speaks to the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn MP. Then BBC News.
BBC News Victoria Derbyshire: The EU Debate 06/06/2016 Victoria Derbyshire hosts an EU referendum debate live from Manchester with an audience of 150 voters and senior politicians.
ITV Cameron and Farage Live: The EU Referendum 07/06/2016 Julie Etchingham presents a live hour-long programme in which David Cameron and Nigel Farage will in turn answer questions from a studio audience in London.
BBC2 Jack Dee's Referendum Help Desk 07/06/2016 1/3. Jack Dee helps a live studio audience dispel their problems regarding the EU referendum. Jack's guests include Romesh Ranganathan and Katherine Ryan.
Channel 4 Power Monkeys 08/06/2016 New comedy spin-off from Ballot Monkeys with Jack Dee, Claire Skinner, Kevin McNally, Andy Nyman, Archie Panjabi and Amelia Bullmore following both sides of the EU referendum. (Ep1/6)
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 08/06/2016 A European referendum campaign broadcast from the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign. Featuring Stephen Hawking
BBC1 The Andrew Neil Interviews: Leave or Remain? 08/06/2016 Andrew Neil speaks to the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne MP. Then BBC News.
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 09/06/2016 A European referendum campaign broadcast by the Vote Leave campaign.
ITV The ITV Referendum Debate 09/06/2016 Two-hour live debate ahead of the most significant UK referendum in recent history. Three senior political figures from each side answer questions from members of the audience. Nicola Sturgeon, Angela Eagle and Amber Rudd speak for Remain; Boris Johnson, Gisela Stuart and Andrea Leadsom speak for Leave.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum Campaign - Blair and Major 10/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the EU referendum campaign event in Northern Ireland, with former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair backing the UK to remain in the European Union.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum Campaign - Gove and Raab 10/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the EU referendum campaign event with Michael Gove and Dominic Raab on why the UK should leave the European Union, from Wednesday 8 June.
BBC1 The Andrew Neil Interviews: Leave or Remain? 10/06/2016 Andrew Neil talks to leading campaigners on both sides of the EU referendum debate. In this programme he speaks to Ukip leader, Nigel Farage MEP. Then BBC News.
Channel 4 The Last Leg 10/06/2016 The award-winning satirical comedy show returns. Hosted by Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe. The first guests are Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Russell Crowe. (S8 Ep1/6)
BBC Parliament EU Referendum Campaign - Stronger in Europe Event 11/06/2016 Recorded coverage of a Stronger in Europe referendum campaign event with speeches from David Cameron, Harriet Harman, Tim Farron and Natalie Bennett, from Monday 6 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum Campaign - Vote Leave Event 11/06/2016 Recorded coverage of a Vote Leave referendum campaign in Stratford-Upon-Avon, with speeches from Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Gisela Stuart and John Longworth, from Monday 6 June.
Al-Jazeera English Listening Post 11/06/2016 As Britain's EU future hangs in the balance, is the media helping or hindering voters? Plus, the challenges of covering Australia's refugee policy.
BBC1 Better In or Out? A BBC Referendum Special 12/06/2016  Politicians and business leaders debate what London's future holds after the EU referendum.
Channel 4 An Immigrant's Guide to Britain 13/06/2016 The irreverent guide to life in Britain continues. Henning's laugh exasperates an etiquette expert, Obosei tries a pie in a tin, and Veronika investigates personal space. (Ep3/3)
Channel 4 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 13/06/2016 A European referendum campaign broadcast from the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign.
BBC2 Britain & Europe: The Immigration Question 14/06/2016 Mishal Husain investigates migration within the EU, including the impact of immigration on the UK as well as the advantages for Brits living abroad.
BBC2 Jack Dee's Referendum Help Desk 14/06/2016 2/3. Jack Dee helps a live studio audience dispel their problems regarding the EU referendum. Jack's guests include Romesh Ranganathan and Katherine Ryan.
BBC2 Referendum Campaign Broadcast 14/06/2016 Referendum campaign broadcast by the Vote Leave campaign.
Channel 4 Power Monkeys 15/06/2016 Topical satire. In the Unity Unit the PM is coming to visit and Ruby's making cheesecake, Oleg reminisces about Angela Merkel, and the Trump team attempt to woo women. (Ep2/6)
BBC1 Question Time EU Special: The Case for Leave 15/06/2016 Justice secretary Michael Gove MP answers questions on the case for leaving the EU.
BBC1 Referendum Broadcast 15/06/2016 Referendum campaign broadcast by the Stronger IN Europe campaign.
Channel 4 Eurotrash 17/06/2016 Antoine de Caunes and Jean Paul Gaultier present a new edition of the legendary show about the many, varied and occasionally alarming cultural delights enjoyed by our European cousins.
Channel 4 The Last Leg 17/06/2016 Hosts Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are joined by US playwright and actor Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar to take a fresh look at the week's events. (S8 Ep2/6)
BBC Radio 5 Live Pienaar's Politics 19/06/2016 John Pienaar presents a special EU referendum edition of Pienaar's Politics. He speaks to politicians and pundits on boths sides, including David Miliband and Nigel Farage.
BBC1 Question Time EU Special: The Case for Remain 19/06/2016 An audience in Milton Keynes quizzes David Cameron on the case for remaining in the EU.
Sky News EU: In or Out? 20/06/2016 Jeremy Corbyn - live television debate of the Referendum campaign, exclusive to Sky News.
BBC1 The Big EU Reality Check 20/06/2016 The Big EU Reality Check gets to the facts behind the claims in the EU referendum campaign.Then BBC News.
BBC1 EU Referendum: The Great Debate 21/06/2016 David Dimbleby, Mishal Husain and Emily Maitlis present the biggest debate of the EU referendum campaign live from the SSE Arena in Wembley, London.
LBC 97.3 Iain Dale 21/06/2016 Includes EU debate between Nigel Farage and Lord Heseltine
BBC2 Jack Dee's Referendum Help Desk 21/06/2016 3/3. Jack Dee helps a live studio audience dispel their problems regarding the EU referendum. Jack's guests include Katherine Ryan, Jeremy Hardy, Nina Wadia and Nish Kumar.
BBC R5L Phil Williams 21/06/2016 Phil Williams presents reaction to the evening's debate on the EU referendum at Wembley Arena.
BBC News The Great Debate Countdown 21/06/2016 A special programme building up to the start of the BBC's EU Referendum Great Debate - with behind the scenes access to the audience, the experts and the BBC's presenting team.
BBC Parliament BBC Wales EU Referendum Debate 22/06/2016 On the eve of the EU referendum, leading figures from the two campaigns face questions from a studio audience in a debate presented by Bethan Rhys Roberts. 
Sky News EU: In or Out? Time to Decide 22/06/2016 Dermot Murnaghan hosts a special night of coverage in the hours before EU Referendum polls open, with reports and analysis from Sky News' Editors and leading contributors from the UK and abroad.
Channel 4 Europe: The Final Debate with Jeremy Paxman 22/06/2016 Jeremy Paxman hosts the final debate before the EU Referendum, with politicians, celebrities and figures from business, science, sport, the military and security services.
Channel 4 Power Monkeys 22/06/2016 There's one day left for the EU referendum camps to sway the waverers. In the Unity Unit, Sara is trying her best to manage conflict, while Jackie wants to be eaten by eagles. (Ep3/6)
BBC Radio 4 The Moral Maze 22/06/2016 The EU Referendum: Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Edward Stourton. With Mona Siddiqui, Matthew Taylor, Claire Fox and Giles Fraser.
LBC 97.3 Britain Decides 23/06/2016 Britain Decides with Iain Dale & Shelagh Fogarty. 
Sky News Decision Time: In or Out? 23/06/2016 Adam Boulton hosts a momentous night on the referendum result from 50 live locations. Is the UK really about to leave the EU?
CCTV Dialogue 23/06/2016 Discussion of UK referendum on EU membership
BBC1 EU Referendum: The Result 23/06/2016 David Dimbleby is your guide as the votes are counted around the UK. Joining him in the BBC's Referendum Centre are Jeremy Vine, Emily Maitlis, Kamal Ahmed and Laura Kuenssberg. 
France 24 News & Magazines 23/06/2016 Coverage and analysis of the results of the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.
RT News UK 23/06/2016 Live coverage of the UK's EU Referendum result.
BBC Radio 4 Referendum 2016 23/06/2016 Coverage and analysis of the results of the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.
ITV Referendum Result Live: ITV News Special 23/06/2016 Tom Bradby presents live coverage of the biggest decision facing the British public in a generation. With Julie Etchingham, Robert Peston, Allegra Stratton and James Mates. 
BBC R5L Stephen Nolan 23/06/2016 Stephen Nolan and Chris Mason with initial reaction from campaigners and 5 live listeners following the close of the polls for the EU referendum.
CNN UK Decides: In or Out? 23/06/2016 Live coverage of the UK's EU Referendum result.
BBC1 BBC News Special EU Referendum 24/06/2016 Huw Edwards presents live coverage from Westminster on the EU referendum result, with reaction from BBC teams across the UK and around the world.
BBC News BBC News Special: EU Referendum 24/06/2016 Huw Edwards presents live coverage from Westminster on the EU referendum result, with reaction from BBC teams across the UK and around the world. 
BBC News BBC News Special: EU Referendum 24/06/2016 BBC News presents live coverage from Westminster on the EU referendum result - with reaction from BBC teams across the UK and around the world.
CCTV Dialogue 24/06/2016 Discussion of UK's decision to leave the EU
Sky News EU Referendum Result 24/06/2016 Dermot Murnaghan with reaction and analysis of the referendum result. So what happens now?
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Arlene Foster 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the speech by Northern Ireland's first minister Arlene Foster in response to the Leave result on the UK's membership of the EU, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Boris Johnson 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the news conference held by Vote Leave with speeches from Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Carwyn Jones 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the news conference held by Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones in response to the Leave result in the UK's referendum on EU membership, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: David Cameron 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the Downing Street news conference held by prime minister David Cameron announcing he will step down in October, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Enda Kenny 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the news conference held by the Irish taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in response to the Leave result in the UK's referendum on EU membership, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: European Reaction 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of reactions to the Leave result from Angela Merkel, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Mark Carney 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the news conference held by the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, in response to the Leave result in the EU referendum, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Nicola Sturgeon 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the news conference held by Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon in response to the Leave result in the EU referendum, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Nigel Farage 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the speech by Ukip leader Nigel Farage in response to the Leave result in the UK's referendum on the European Union, from Friday 24 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Ruth Davidson 24/06/2016 Recorded coverage of the speech by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in response to the Leave result in the UK's membership of the European Union, from Friday 24 June.
France 24 News & Magazines 24/06/2016 Live coverage of results of UK EU Referendum
BBC World Sv. Newsday 24/06/2016 Coverage of the EU referendum results.
BBC World Sv. Newshour Extra Special 24/06/2016 A special edition covering the results of the EU referendum.
BBC 2 Newsnight 24/06/2016 With Evan Davis. So... now what?
Channel 4 Power Monkeys 24/06/2016 Topical satire. The results are in, the UK's fate has been decided. Tony is keen to begin the healing process, while the David Cameron fudge has morphed into a sad metaphor. 
BBC R5L Referendum 2016 24/06/2016 James Naughtie and Carolyn Quinn present overnight coverage and reaction to the results of the EU Referendum.
BBC World Sv. Referendum Extra 24/06/2016 Coverage of the EU referendum results.
ITV Referendum Result Live: ITV News 24/06/2016 Alastair Stewart presents live coverage of all the latest news following last night's historic EU referendum result. 
Sky News Sunrise Special: EU Referendum Result 24/06/2016 Dermot Murnaghan with the crucial result of the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. Did we stay or did we go?
BBC1 The Big Decision with Nick Robinson 24/06/2016 Nick Robinson examines what the results of the EU referendum will mean for the UK.
Channel 4 The Last Leg In, The Last Leg Out 24/06/2016 Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are joined by Stephen Mangan to examine the EU referendum result and the most entertaining news stories of the week.
Al-Jazeera English Listening Post 25/06/2016 After an EU referendum campaign full of racism and fear, we examine the UK media's influence on the result. Plus, how ad blockers are costing the news business.
BBC2 Newsnight Special: Life After Brexit 25/06/2016 In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines.
RT Sophie & Co. 25/06/2016 Bright, straightforward, honest, respectful. Questions that stick. Answers that matter. 
CNN Connect the World with Becky Anderson 26/06/2016 CNN's Becky Anderson joins the dots of stories and events by exploring how an event or circumstance in one part of the world can have a significant impact elsewhere.
BBC1 Question Time: A EU Special 26/06/2016 A special live edition discussing the implications of the UK's vote to leave the European Union. The Leave and Remain camps are evenly represented in the audience and on the panel.
Channel 4 Channel 4 News 27/06/2016 Extended EU referendum news special.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: George Osborne 27/06/2016 Recorded coverage of a speech by the chancellor of the exchequer in response to the Leave result in the UK's referendum on the European Union, from Monday 27 June.
BBC Parliament EU Referendum: Jeremy Corbyn 27/06/2016 EU Referendum statement by Jeremy Corbyn, Leader, Labour Party, from June 25
BBC Parliament Prime Minister's Statement 27/06/2016 David Cameron's statement to Parliament on the outcome of the EU referendum
BBC Parliament Gibraltar Newswatch 28/06/2016 GBC Television Gibraltar present coverage of the EU Referendum vote, with local reaction, analysis and discussion on implications for Gibraltarians. Recorded Friday 24 June.
BBC News HARDtalk  28/06/2016 Radek Sikorski, former Polish foreign minister: HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski about Britain's Brexit vote
BBC Parliament Live European Parliament 28/06/2016 Live coverage of proceedings in the European Parliament in Brussels on the outcome of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union.
BBC Parliament Scottish Parliament - EU Referendum 28/06/2016 Coverage of the statement in the Scottish Parliament by first minister Nicola Sturgeon on the outcome of the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, from Tuesday 28 June.
BBC4 Power Monkeys 29/06/2016 The dust has settled in both EU referendum camps. Spencer is now scolding the Premier League and zigzag haircuts, while Tony endeavours to save his marriage... to the Tory party. (Ep5/6)
BBC Radio 4 The Moral Maze 29/06/2016 Debate on the outcome of the EU Referendum. Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Mona Siddiqui, Giles Fraser, Melanie Phillips and Anne McElvoy.
BBC Parliament Conservative Leadership - Boris Johnson 30/06/2016 Recorded coverage of Boris Johnson announcing that he will not stand in the election to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, from Thursday 30 June.
BBC Parliament Conservative Leadership - Stephen Crabb 30/06/2016 Recorded coverage of work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb launching his campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, from Wednesday 29 June.
BBC Parliament Conservative Leadership - Theresa May 30/06/2016 Recorded coverage of home secretary Theresa May launching her campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, from Thursday 30 June.
BBC News HARDtalk  30/06/2016 Stephen Sackur talks to Segolene Royal, French environment minister and former socialist candidate for the French presidency about the British Brexit.
BBC 1 Question Time 30/06/2016 Topical debate in which guests from the worlds of politics and the media answer questions posed by members of the public
BBC R5L Question Time Extra Time 30/06/2016 John Pienaar introduces coverage of Question Time, with the chance to continue the debate after the simulcast.
Sky News The Pledge: Brexit 30/06/2016 This week on The Pledge it's a Brexit special. There will be straight talking debate on the UK's historic vote to leave the EU.

As said, we continue to record programmes relating to the aftermath of the referendum, as well as our regular news programming - some 40 hours per day. We will aim to upload new programmes to SAMI and Explore at the end of each month, but those who want up-to-the-minute recordings can always go direct to the Broadcast News service, which makes most of the programmes it records available an hour or so after broadcast. To access Broadcast News onsite, go to any British Library terminal, and click on the front page link for Sound and Moving Image services.

The British Library has also been archiving websites on the EU Referendum, as outlined in this blog from our Web Archiving team: Capturing and Preserving the EU Referendum Debate (Brexit). And of course we have been taking in most British newspapers as part of our standard Legal Deposit intake.

Meanwhile, the recording goes on ....

RT

Recording today's news

 

08 June 2016

News is beautiful

Today's news may not always be happy, but it is often beautiful to look at. A new book, Visual Storytelling: Infographic Design in News, by Lu Yikun and Dong Zhao, shows how the rise in data journalism and reusable data sources has led to an explosion in infographics and data visualisations. These have been created by a skillful set of designers who can turn raw data into eye-catching illustrations that make better sense of the world while delighting the eye.

Visual

The book provides a background to the different types of data journalism design - pie charts, bar charts, radar charts, word clouds, 3D graphs, real-time maps and heat maps - and gives some of the history of the form. Mostly it is given over to sumptuous examples of news infographics produced by designers across the world. The index of artists at the back of the book provides web addresses, from which you can  discover the extraordinary array of work being done by what is, in effect, a new branch of professional journalism. Here are some examples (all of them illustrated in the book).

Body

Erik Nylund, 'The Average Resident in Helsingborg'. Reproduced with permission.

Erik Nylund is an infographics designer and illustrator, from Malmö, Sweden. His infographic, 'The Average Resident in Helsingborg', produced for Swedish newspaper Helsingsborgs Dagblad, takes data about the residents of Helsingborg and appositely presents the numbers as part of the anatomy of the resident (even down to one of four fingers conveniently expressing a figure of 26%).

Bond

 Erik Nylund, 'Statistics about James Bond Movies'. Reproduced with permission.

Nylund produced this infographic in response to a competition from the www.informationisbeautiful.net website, which provided data about James Bond movies and invited designers to express it creatively. It was published by the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagblade in 2012.

Workers

Ciaran Hughes, 'Workers Arise!' Reproduced with permission.

Ciaran Hughes is a Irish artist and designer, who has produced infographics for many newspapers, public and commercial sector clients. His 'Workers Arise!' was a front page graphic for the Daily Telegraph that accompanied an article on apprentices in the workplace. Its inspiration was the work of the great Russian graphic designer Alexander Rodchenko, and it makes powerful, symbolic use of the red bars and the worker's hand gripping a wrench - a model example of the coming together of theme and form.

Graph

Henrik Petterson, images from his series 'The Graph'. Reproduced with permission.

Henrik Petterson producers a regular infographic series for economia magazine, entitled 'The Graph'. Subtitled 'Britain in numbers: a statistical portrait of the month just gone', it illustrates not only how news information can be dynamically visualised, but shows by its regularity how it can function as a news service.

If you are interested to see more of the work of news infographic designers, here are some links to the individual designers mentions, some designer showcase sites and prominent news data sites:

Visual Storytelling boldly claims that "data journalism is the future of journalism".  It has certainly become an indispensable part of modern news production, and given the predicted rise in automated or robot journalism, we are likely to be seeing more and more of it. However, a robot is probably only going to provide us with bar charts. For wit, design flair, and deeper understanding, we are dependent on a talented group of designers, who like all good journalists, take raw observation and convert it into information and insight.  

Mapper

Political Meetings Mapper, produced using Open Street Map

A final thought is why the skills applied to create infographics out of current news data are not applied more often to historical news data? More and more is being done by researchers, here at the British Library and elsewhere, to undertake analyses of large-scale historical news data sets. There have been some visualisations produced, such as the maps generated by Dr Katrina Navickas for her Political Meetings Mapper project on 19th century Chartist meeting found in our newspaper archives. Machines are good at producing maps, but what more could be done if infographic designers could get their hands on such data? It's something we need to be exploring further.

01 June 2016

St. Pancras Intelligencer no. 39

It's time for another edition in our occasional series on news about news, the St Pancras Intelligencer. Here are some of the recent stories on where news and where it might be going which have caught our eye.

Accelerated

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Project

Death to the Mass - Jeff Jarvis writes on the death of the traditional idea of the mass media as delivering the same content to everyone. What replaces it will be tailored to the individual, who is now the king over everything:

What has died is the mass-media business model — injuring, perhaps mortally, a host of institutions it symbiotically supported: publishing, broadcasting, mass marketing, mass production, political parties, possibly even our notion of a nation. We are coming at last to the end of the Gutenberg Age.

All well and good, says Roy Greenslade, but how in this brave new world are we to save public interest journalism?

When it comes to social media, news consumers tend to stick with 1 source - Media plurality is all very good, but humans still tend to stick with the familiar. The Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation find that 64 percent of social media news consumers get their news on just one favorite site.

43 percent of social media users don't know where the stories they read originally appeared - Some disheartening news for all news brands, as Digiday reports that 43% of social media users are unaware of them.Why China fakes 488 million social media posts a year - Mind-boggling report from Mashable on how China's government fills its social media with positive social media comments to distract its citizens from bad or politically sensitive news.

Digital archives of British national newspapers - Our own guide to current UK national newspapers available digitally at the British Library (and those which can't be found digitally anywhere).

A neighbor is better than a newspaper - A rather heartening report from Solutions Journalism Network, showing how the oldest form of news distribution - word-of-mouth - operates in rural Western mountain communities in the USA.

Instantarticles

Facebook's Instant Articles

Facebook news selection is in hands of editors not algorithms, documents show - So many stories out there about how Facebook's algorithms are shaping the world's news. The Guardian reports on the humans behind the algorithms making selection decisions much like a traditional media organisation. Quartz has Facebook’s news feed algorithm is so mysterious, users are developing “folk theories” about how it works; Will Cathcart at The Verge has a long talk with Facebook about its role in journalism; Fusion reminds us that the real ‘news curators’ at Facebook are the engineers who write its algorithms; while The Independent reports Facebook denies claims it suppressed conservative and controversial news on its ‘Trending Topics’ sidebar.

Facebook is the new paperboy - And there's more. Matt Carroll at Medium traces the history of news distribution from paperboys to platforms, and how this is changing how newsrooms work.

Social networks could do much more to protect eyewitnesses in breaking news - Josh Stearns at FirstDraftNews calls on Facebook, Twitter and Google to do more to help eyewitnesses supplying on-the-spot news at disasters to protect and understand their rights.

Beware the ‘false consciousness’ theory: newspapers won’t decide this referendum - Charlie Beckett at LSE's Polis blog says that traditional newspapers no longer have the influence over something like the EU Referendum debate that campaigners imagine they have.

How the New York Times plans to conquer the world - Alex Spence at Politico reports on how the New York Times is eyeing Europe for new digital subscribers.

Suddenly, national newspapers are heading for that print cliff fall - The end has been nigh for a while now, but Roy Greenslade is now certain: newspapers "have no future".

A BBC for the future - And finally, among all the stories coming out the BBC White Paper - funding local journalists, cutting back on sections of its News website, no longer running local news index web pages, possibly merging the News and World channels - we were pleased to see this line lurking towards the back of the document: "There should be particular scope to do more to enable access to BBC historic news archive". Let's hope so.

19 May 2016

Digital archives of British national newspapers

Did you know that the historic back runs of most of the British national newspapers that are published today have been digitised by online publishers and that these are all available for free in British Library Reading Rooms? With the recent addition of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph,  Independent and Independent on Sunday to the digital archives you can search at the British Library, it’s a good opportunity to review what’s available for all current British nationals.

  Times

The Times was the first national newspaper to digitise its historic back run and The Times Digital Archive has been available in British Library Reading Rooms since 2003. This is a vast archive which allows users to search every page of the newspaper from its first issue in 1785 (when it was known as the Daily Universal Register) up to 2010.

The archive offers access to a 225 year back run of The Times and contains, in total, over 70,000 issues which include over 1.6 million pages or more than 11.8 million articles. The entire file is searchable by keyword and by date and the content can be viewed at page or article level. In addition there is an advanced search facility which enables a search to be focussed on particular parts of the newspaper  such as ‘News’ or ‘Reviews’ or ‘Politics’.

In the years since 2003, when The Times Digital Archive first became available, back runs of most of the other currently published British national newspapers have been digitised and these are all available in British Library Reading Rooms. The titles are:

  • Daily Express: 1900 to date, and Sunday Express: 2000 to date
  • Daily Mail: 1896-2004
  • Daily Mirror: 1903 to date
  • Daily Star/ Star on Sunday: 2000 to date
  • Daily Telegraph: 1855-2000 and Sunday Telegraph: 1961-2000
  • Financial Times: 1888-2010
  • Guardian: 1824 -2003
  • Independent: 1986-2012, and Independent on Sunday: 1990-2012
  • Observer: 1791-2003
  • Scotsman: 1870-1950
  • The Times: 1785-2010, and Sunday Times 1822-2006

Links to all of these can be via our Electronic Resources page (select Newspapers as a subject, then refine your search by Full Text). Please note that electronic access only works in British Library Reading Rooms and on our terminals.

Although the historic back runs of most of the British national newspapers that are published today have been digitised and made available online, not every current British national is available in this way. The following titles do not yet have digital archives:

  • Daily Record
  • i
  • Morning Star
  • People
  • The Sun

Telegraph

Sample search on the Telegraph Historical Archive

The most recent additions to the list of digitised archives of British national newspapers are The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Independent and Independent on Sunday. These titles have only been available on our Reading Rooms since earlier this year.

The Telegraph Historical Archive contains over 1 million facsimile pages of The Daily Telegraph from the first issue published in 1855 to the year 2000 and the Sunday Telegraph from its inception in 1961 up to 2012.

Independent

The Independent Digital Archive contains approximately 750,000 facsimile pages and includes every issue of The Independent from 1986 to 2012 and every issue of The Independent on Sunday from its inception in 1990 up to 2012.

In some cases it is possible to carry out a combined search of more than one historic newspaper archive which can increase the efficiency of the search process and deliver a wider range of results from different types of newspaper.  The historic archives of The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Financial Times, Independent and Independent on Sunday are all hosted by the same on-line publisher (Gale Cengage) and these archives can be searched individually or in a combination of two or more titles. Similarly, the historic archives of the Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Sunday Express and Star on Sunday are hosted by another on-line publisher (UKpressonline), and the archives of The Guardian and The Scotsman (along with the Irish Times) are hosted by ProQuest Historical Newspapers. It is possible to combine a search of two or more newspapers within these groups of titles as well.

Digital newspaper archives have transformed the use of historic newspapers in research. Whereas in the past it might have taken days, weeks or even months to search through large bound volumes of newspapers or to trawl through endless reels of microfilm to find all the information needed for a particular research topic, in a digital archive the information is much more easily accessible and can often be found in almost no time at all.

Stephen Lester, Newspaper Curator

14 April 2016

Using old newspapers

Denise Bates is a writer on social history whose latest book, Historical Research using British Newspapers, is a guide to using newspaper archives in research, particularly the British Newspaper Archive. In this guest blog post, she describes what led her to write about using digitised newspapers. 

Bates

The inspiration for Historical Research Using British Newspapers was a very modern concept; the blog. I used old newspapers extensively whilst researching my first two books, Pit Lasses and Breach of Promise to Marry. The positive reaction to my blog for the British Newspaper Archive about the differences between national and local newspapers surprised me as I had not expected this to be new learning. After more investigation I realised that twenty-first century historians have an exciting new resource, digitised, on-line newspapers, but little information about using them effectively. The seeds of my next project were planted.

When I first started using old newspapers, like many researchers I was learning on the job and made mistakes along the way. These included not knowing which titles were the best ones to consult first and thus wasting time trying to understand a topic that was well-covered in a different publication. I also made unrealistic assumptions about how much time was needed to locate and study reports. I decided on a book which brought together the many issues that are relevant to users of old newspapers, including the history of the press, how to find good quality information, how to use it productively and the pitfalls to avoid.

Digitised newspapers have a growing fan-base. Their preserved pages contain a rich vein of forgotten material, allowing researchers to broaden their enquiries from the standard sources on many topics and to cite new examples, rather than recycling the same few. Newspapers sometimes offer an unorthodox view of the past, with content which challenges the version that has been handed down in exam syllabuses and popular histories alike. For topics that have not been studied or written about, newspapers are an accessible way of rediscovering aspects of the past that have been forgotten.

Police

Illustrated Police News 29 July 1882. An artist's impression of a breach of promise case and a case of child cruelty.

Unanticipated discoveries have changed my understanding of the nineteenth century. When I used court reports to delve into the archaic world of the jilted women and men who sued a former fiancé for compensation, I found that no-win-no fee lawyers, who I had previously believed to be a product of the late twentieth century, ran flourishing practices as early as the 1820s. When I looked at several cases involving child cruelty or neglect in the 1890s, I entered a world of high-minded social workers who could not comprehend how the people they were trying to help had to live. Amongst some very serious and indisputable instances of ill-treatment, were several shocking but unwarranted accusations of laziness, selfishness and drunkenness made against caring parents whose wages were too low to feed and clothe their children properly, even though they had been instructed about cleanliness and nutrition. Suddenly I knew the roots of the fear that haunted working-class families as I grew up in the 1960s, that if you didn't do as 'they' said, 'they' might take your children away.

Vesuvius

'Eruption of Mount Vesuvius', Penny Illustrated Paper, 17 October 1863. This scene would have been a revelation to most readers of the time.

Every type of material has its drawbacks and old newspapers are far from being the perfect resource. The number of pages that are already on-line can make them unwieldy to handle if a query produces a large number of matches. It is possible to become overwhelmed by detail and miss important information or insight. There are plenty of places in the news chain where error can creep into a report and sometimes they cover a topic in a very superficial way. Occasionally a researcher may strike lucky and quickly locate an editorial or journalist's investigation that provides a complete answer. More usually it will be necessary to find, collate and analyse a number of individual reports in order to uncover the full story or unlock relevant learning.

Almost all sources are affected by bias and newspapers are no exception. They have been subjected to censorship, may have printed propaganda or portrayed opinion as fact. These problems are not insurmountable, but users need to know how to recognise and manage them in order to avoid jumping to false conclusions.  

When newspapers were first published, they opened up a wider world to the literate people of the day. Reproduced digitally, they are now allowing twenty-first century researchers to immerse themselves in the past in a way that no other resource can and make new discoveries.

Denise Bates (www.denisebates.co.uk)

07 April 2016

St. Pancras Intelligencer no. 38

It has been a while since we produced an edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our round-up of news about news. Producing a regular series proved to be rather too much of a challenge, but not wanting to see a good title go down, we are recasting the Intelligencer as an occasional series. Much like the first newspapers in the 17th century, we will publish a new edition when we have gathered enough stories to fill the space available. So here is some of what has been happening recently in the world of news about news.

Panama

http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de

The Panama Papers. The leak of millions of papers from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has sent shockwaves across the world. The story behind the leak is as fascinating as the outcome. Wired gives the background story. The now famous International Consortium of Investigative Journalists collates the information on a smartly designed special website. And the newspaper that first received the documents, Süddeutsche Zeitung, has its own stylish website dedicated to the story, in German and English, which dramatises the material with fine use of illustrations and charts.

The art of being in the wrong place at the right time: behind the scenes of social media newsgathering. A powerful piece by David Crunelle, eyewitness to the Brussels airport bombings who was then bombarded with requests from the news media.

Editor hits out at "supine journalism" in regional press. Mike Gibson, editor of the Brighton Argus, criticises the "poor state" of much of the English regional press, as reported by Hold the Front Page.

Can newspapers do anything to stop the advertising exodus? Roy Greenslade worries about the future viability of newspapers, assailed by falling advertising revenues on one hand and the use of ad-blocking software on the other.

The life and times of a newspaper baron. Interesting piece by Peter Day on BBC News on Lord Thomson of Fleet, owner of The Times before Rupert Murdoch.

Action Research in Audience Analytics. A report from Nesta on how hyperlocals can learn from their audiences to build up their audiences.

Do newspaper archives need a “dead man’s switch”? Thought-provoking piece from Tara Calishain at ResearchBuzz on the perils of disappearing digital newspaper archives.

Newspapers

http://www.thecinetourist.net/news.html

The Cine-Tourist is a film history site with a psychogeographical bent, managed by Roland-François Lack of University College London. His speciality is gathering thematic screengrabs from historic films, and he has produced a terrific gallery of scenes from films in which real and imaginary newspapers appear. See which films you recognise.

Investigative brand journalism. Nieman Lab looks at the Guardian's true crime reporting series, How to Solve a Murder, with its sponsorship from Amazon.

Newspapers gobble each other up to survive digital apocalypse. Great title for a Bloomberg piece on American newspaper business strategies.

"The lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality". Journalist-turned-historian Dean Kirby (guest writing for the Newsroom blog) looks at the worst parts of 19th century Manchester and what newspaper archives reveal about them.

Independent launches paid-for digital edition. As we said goodbye to the print editions of The Independent and the Independent on Sunday, a new paid-for digital daily edition appeared, looking much like the print version (doubtless to reassure traditional subscribers). On the same subject, the Indy gave us a gallery of the best of its front covers (note how raggedy the pre-digital-era copies now look), and wrote boldly about the opportunities offered by new technologies. At Medital, Torin Douglas looked back to 1986 and the founding of the The Independent. And at this blog, we attended a debate on print newspapers post-Independent and what the digital future might be, and concluded that nobody knows anything.

El Pais, Spain's best-selling newspaper may end print edition. If you thought The Independent going digital only was big news, consider that Spain's leading newspaper may go the same way.

Scale of Hearst plot to discredit Orson Welles and Citizen Kane revealed. Dalya Alberge at The Guardian on a new book by Harlan Lebo that shows how hard William Randolph Hearst tried to attack Citizen Kane, the greatest of all newspaper movies.

The New Day is selling just 40,000 copies a day but Trinity Mirror stands by its launch despite the slow start. And finally, we have a new national newspaper in The New Day (boldly refusing to have a website), but as The Drum reports, the take-up figures aren't encouraging so far for a newspaper aimed at those who don't read newspapers.

31 March 2016

Nobody knows anything

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The screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, The Princess Bride) wrote one of the essential books on Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade. Among its many words of wisdom about how movies actually work, the most celebrated are those that express what he calls "the single most important fact, perhaps, of the entire movie industry" -

NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING

Attending a debate on the future of newspapers at City University yesterday, Goldman's words came to me. In the world of digital news that now faces us, nobody knows anything.

Newindy

Independent Digital front pages, from http://edition.independent.co.uk

Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Hollywood may lurch from triumph to disaster to further disaster with little idea of what is going to succeed, yet it continues to produce the occasional great or commercially successful film, and it has not collapsed as a business. But it lives in a constant state of anxiety, because its hopes are all based around the whims of a mercurial audience. After centuries of producing news in a form that people would regularly buy into, the news industry is now facing a world in which it cannot say from one year to the next what model is going to work, or whether there ever will be the same stability on which the newspaper business subsisted for so long.

The debate was entitled "Newsprint - it ain't over yet!" (originally it was billed as the less confident "Is print dead?")  and was organised by City University and the Media Society. Chaired by Professor Roy Greenslade of City University and Guardian Media, the guest speakers were Sarah Baxter, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Times, Christian Broughton, Editor of the Independent Digital and Jane Singer, Professor of Journalism Innovation at City University. Sadly, Alison Phillips, editor of the UK's latest national newspaper, The New Day, was advertised but not available on the day.

It was an interesting debate, if somewhat skewed towards the view of journalists rather than readers, inevitably given the speakers and the audience of journalism students and media professionals. The current crises were all addressed - the challenges of making digital pay, the supposed threat of the BBC towards regional newspapers, the challenge of ad-blocking software to business models, what jobs are there for today's journalism students? - and the generally expressed fears of who will hold governments to account in a world without newspapers and traditional investigative journalism.

The two speakers from news organisations spoke confidently about their latest business models. The Independent closed its print edition on 26 March, but has strongly asserted the power of its digital, with a website that is profitable, and the newly-launched daily digital edition with front-page layout looking for all the world like the print edition still existed (no doubt to comfort former subscribers to the print version who they hope will move over to the digital). The Times and Sunday Times have announced that they are moving away from a rolling digital news model (the "flim-flam of passing news" in Baxter's words) to offer a joint digital news package in timed editions (9am, midday and 5pm), just like a print newspaper.

Newsprint

The debate at City University, with (L-R) Christian Broughton, Jane Singer, Roy Greenslade and Sarah Baxter

So the latest digital news models are looking towards mimicking the solidity of print. This may comfort the traditionalist buyers, and is an acknowledgment of the power of brand and the strength of print in making a news story part of the public agenda. But that's just today's strategy. Who can say if they will still be operational five years from now, or even a year from now? Other great ideas for ensuring long-term stability will follow soon enough, while others will pursue their own plans. Perhaps the Blendle model of pay-per-article, as developed in the Netherlands, will prove successful. Perhaps philanthropic funding models that work in the USA can be transported here. Perhaps the paid-for model adopted by The Times offers the only security. Perhaps going free but reaching out to as many millions as possible is what will work. Perhaps print will endure far longer than we expect, valued by an 'elite' audience if not the majority.

The truth is, nobody knows. This is a huge challenge for the British Library, which has a mission to preserve the UK's news. Such archiving thrives on consistency of output, something which print newspapers have long provided, with their uniformity of format and regularity of publication. The days of certainty are over for news archiving as they are for news publication. We will have to keep reinventing policies and procedures, just to keep up. It certainly seems unlikely that we will ever return to the reliability of the past. Sarah Baxter said that we are in a transitional phase of news production, but perhaps it is always going to be a transitional phase.

News publication in the future looks to be condemned to uncertainty, flitting from one platform to another, from one business model to the next - because that is how the digital world works, with its continual need to keep re-inventing itself. News publication will nevertheless thrive, however, in one form or another, because we will always thirst for news. It will continue to hit the occasional heights, keeping us informed and creating essential talking points. But, like the movies, it is doomed to a constant state of anxiety, for as long into the future as anyone can see.

 

 

23 March 2016

"The lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality"

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Dean Kirby is a journalist who has been covering the news in and around Manchester, his home city, for nearly 20 years. His debut book, Angel Meadow: Victorian Britain's Most Savage Slum, published by Pen & Sword, is the first history of Angel Meadow, the 19th century Manchester slum so vile and dangerous that it was described by Friedrich Engels as "hell upon earth". To find out more about the book, visit www.angelmeadowbook.com. Here, Dean tells how he used British Library newspapers at the British Newspaper Archive to uncover the horrors of Angel Meadow.

01

When Manchester was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution, Angel Meadow was the city’s vilest and most dangerous slum.

A wild and brutal borderland at the northern edge of Cottonopolis, it was home to 30,000 workers who struggled for survival in conditions so appalling that it was described by Friedrich Engels as “hell upon earth” in 1845.

I became fascinated by the story of Angel Meadow when I discovered that my Victorian forefather, an Irish immigrant named William Kirby, had washed up there after surviving the potato famine.

In 2012, archaeologists investigating Victorian Manchester’s horrors made a startling discovery while digging up a car park in Angel Meadow – my  ancestor’s home.

They gave me permission to clamber down a shaky ladder to touch the still-sooty bricks of William’s fireplace and the paper-thin walls that separated his 10ft-square, one-up-one-down from the house next door.

As I searched for clues about my ancestor’s life in Manchester’s archives and began formulating the idea of writing a book, I started to drift off to the slum in my imagination.

I descended into damp cellars, stumbled through backyard pigsties and came face-to-face with scarred and tattooed street fighters or “scuttlers” in the slum’s smoke-filled beer houses.

I crept into dingy lodging houses where new arrivals were forced to sleep naked with strangers because it was the only way to keep their clothes free from lice.

The more I read, the most astonished I became by my ancestor’s survival in this hellish place – leading to my own existence more than a century later in the city that his blood sweat and tears had helped to create.

Morningchronicle

Morning Chronicle, 12 November 1849

My journey of discovery was led by an army of Victorian journalists who walked those streets for real, and whose words have survived among the millions of pages in the British Newspaper Archive.

They included men such as the Fleet Street journalist Angus Bethune Reach, who told readers of the Morning Chronicle in 1849 of his descent into one of Angel Meadow’s many inhabited cellars, where he found an old man asleep in a shallow cave no bigger than a coffin scooped out of the wall.

“The lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality in Manchester is called, singularly enough, Angel Meadow,” he wrote. “It is full of cellars and inhabited by prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, cadgers, vagrants, tramps and, in the very worst sties of filth and darkness, by those unhappy wretches, the low Irish.”

Another journalist from the Manchester Evening News, my former newspaper, found himself on the run from the police in 1874 after entering a beerhouse disguised as a rogue with a criminal named Mack acting as his guide.

The terrified reporter fled into a lodging house operated by a notorious thief-trainer named Cabbage Ann and found her superintending a wake for an eminent pick-pocket or “gun”.

“The place looked squalid and miserable,” the journalist later wrote, “and the people in it were of poor, miserable appearance, as if they found it hard to live at all.”

Searching the newspaper archive like an investigator hunting for further clues, I slowly managed to piece together the real identity of Cabbage Ann, and other slum dwellers with exotic names such as Jemmy the Crawler, the Badger and Long Dick.

Beautifully-written nineteenth century court reports allowed me to follow every twist and turn of their lengthy criminal careers, while useful snippets such as weather forecasts helped me to say whether it was raining in Manchester when they committed their crimes.

Burgess

Henry Burgess, from Staffordshire Record Office

I also used census documents and prison archives held by findmypast.co.uk to create pen pictures of the most notorious criminals – right down to their eye colour and tattoos.

One man in particular jumped out from the pages. He was called Henry Burgess (Harry to his relatives) and he was a scuttler who, at just 5ft-tall and with steel-coloured eyes, was the most feared man in Angel Meadow.

Burgess, a neighbour of my ancestor William Kirby, had more than 40 convictions to his name including shop-breaking, rioting and assaults on police. No-one was safe including his partner, Mary Ellen Burns, who lost an eye when he attacked her with an iron poker.

Thanks to the stories in the archive, I eventually managed to track down a prison mugshot of Burgess in which he stares with cold, hard eyes and shaven head towards the camera. 

Deposition

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 9 May 1893

In all of the hundreds of pages of newsprint that I read during my research, one story involving Burgess perfectly symbolised the horrors of Angel Meadow.

On Saturday, May 6, 1893, as Britain was sweltering under a drought, Burgess got into a row with a rival named Thomas Matthews in the streets of the slum.

He took a paraffin lantern from his sister’s parlour, marched down the street and, planting his feet on the cobbles, threw it at Matthews and turned him into a human fireball.

Matthews, a father to a young daughter, died from horrific burns at Manchester Royal Infirmary in the early hours after giving a statement to the police identifying Burgess as his killer.

Matthews' final words were immortalised in black newspaper ink in one of the many columns, just a few inches long, that had been carefully preserved in the British Newspaper Archive.

I was perhaps the first person to read those words, spoken by Matthews with badly burned lips and tongue, in more than 120 years.

“I am very ill,” he said, “and I believe I am going to die.”

 

Dean Kirby